Many equipment rental business owners are working far too hard for the relatively meager amount left over after expenses. Technology can help you grow income in many ways. It is quite natural, of course, for many to be primarily focused on growing the top line. But don’t neglect the possibilities of using technology to reduce your expenses, which gobble up revenue almost as fast as you and your staff can generate it.
Sometimes it is the seemingly small ideas that can produce some of the best return on investment. At times, these ideas come in the shape of technology. Even if you dislike technology and it seems boring or frustrating to you compared to the rental equipment you know so well, some technology really makes profit sense. So, keep your mind open and consider these small examples.
Put your phone to work
On the revenue part of the equation, sometimes it can be as easy as installing a more technologically advanced telephone system. The proper system can help your prospects to view your company as the more professional one. The telephone is one of the most important pieces of equipment you have in your store, so be sure it is the best for your needs. (Also, be sure that you have a good “on hold” message that can help inform waiting customers of your other products and services that are available.)
Even basic telephone technology can save employee (and management) time. For example, a wide variety of portable phones often make sense. For many rental operations, it's silly to be tethered to a land line phone. Save unnecessary scrambling to get to the phone and shorten the amount of time needed to find information for customers by wearing the phone.
Sometimes I recommend smart phones for certain rental business owners and key management staff members. Getting your email messages quickly can help you stay in closer contact with your best customers and speed personalized solutions to their challenges. Plus, there are other advantages as well. For example, it is so handy to be able to look something up online when you are on the run.
Clear the clutter
Paper and literature clutter can rob profitability through employee and management inefficiencies. How much valuable time is squandered looking for something in the mountains of paperwork in your rental business? Instead, try to weed out huge amounts of the paper and literature clutter by asking yourself this: if you were going to work on a topic or you needed information about a topic today, would you be better off trying to find the papers you have relating to it, or would you just Google it? You can save so much time by looking up information online! So, be brave and get rid of the mountain of papers and literature – or at least half of it.
Is your computer system up to speed?
Is your investment in your rental equipment as productive as you need it to be? A quality, technologically superior computer system can give you the reports that will help you make much better decisions for your business. For example, some systems are just not as easy to extract the utilization information you need to be tracking regularly. Even when you know what you should be tracking, if it isn’t easy, it isn’t likely that you’ll continue doing it. The point is, often a technologically superior computer system can be an excellent tool to help you, your staff and your rental equipment fleet to become much more productive. But, be cautious when shopping for a new computer system. Almost every pitch you hear concerning a rental computer system can sound very appealing. Purchasing a new system can be a wise investment for some and the start of aggravation for others.
As with any investment in technology, don’t take the plunge without adequate research. Then again, don’t put off making the decision so long that you miss the extra profit that enhanced technology can produce. As you try to explain to your employees, it's not totally about how much money your company takes in, it's what is left after all of the expenses. So, take advantage of what technology has to offer and keep more of what you and your employees have worked so hard to bring in.